Rupea Citadel is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania, the first signs of human settlements dating from the Paleolithic and early Neolithic (5500 BC–3500 BC). Archaeological investigations have revealed objects from this era, testimony of settlements in the region: stone tools, pottery, funeral urns, etc. In Dacian times, on these places was raised the dava known as Rumidava or Ramidava (after various historical sources); conquered by the Romans, Rumidava becomes the Roman castra Rupes (in Latin, rupes means “rock” or “stone”). The Roman castra Rupes was part of the Roman fortification belt defending the commercial area and routes linking Valea Târnavelor, Valea Oltului, Râșnov and Hoghiz.
The first documentary attestation of the citadel dates from 1324, under the name castrum Kuholm, when the Saxons revolting against King Charles I took refuge inside the citadel. The name Kuholm refers to the rock on which it was built: basalt. Between 1432 and 1437 the citadel was attacked and robbed by Turks, as later, in 1643, to be abandoned, after a devastating fire turned it into ruins. At the end of the same century, Saxons return to the citadel to seek refuge. This time, the citadel will be handed over to the Habsburg armies without armed resistance.
During the plague of 1716, the citadel was used as refuge for those who were not affected by disease, and in 1788 as refuge against Turkish invasion.
The citadel was finally abandoned in 1790 after a severe storm that destroyed its roof. Since then, the citadel was left in ruins, although Rupea became in interwar period a powerful Saxon cultural center. During the communist regime, the authorities planned the demolition of the citadel in order to exploit the basalt that forms the hill.
The last attempt to restore the citadel dates back to 1954, but the idea was abandoned. In the early 1990s, the citadel was in a sorry state, with only one of the defense towers standing. Between 2010 and 2013, the citadel has undergone a comprehensive restoration process, with all the seven towers and the peasant homes being restored.
Read an article about another beautiful medieval citadel – Neamt Citadel